Ranking the Packers (Nos. 80-82): Overcoming Adversity
GREEN BAY, Wis. – In a tradition that stretches more than a decade, here is our annual ranking of the 90 players on the Green Bay Packers’ roster. This isn’t merely a look at the best players. Rather, it’s a formula that combines talent, salary, importance of the position, depth at the position and, for young players, draft positioning. More than the ranking, we hope you learn a little something about every player on the roster.
No. 82: S Frankie Griffin (6-0, 204, rookie, Texas State)
Despite the lack of heft, Griffin started at linebacker for most of four seasons with the Bobcats. After earning all-conference accolades as a sophomore and junior, Griffin had 67 tackles, six tackles for losses, 1.5 sacks and two forced fumbles as a senior. In 44 career games, he recorded 258 tackles.
Griffin was a sixth-year senior in 2019. Between his junior year in high school and freshman year at Texas State, he endured a broken ankle and two torn ACLs. He redshirted in 2014, took a medical redshirt in 2015 and considered giving up the game.
“All my injuries set me up for where I am today,” Griffin told Statesman.com. “Getting hurt definitely benefited me. It pushed me and made me overcome adversity. Three years in a row with major injuries. To have made it this far, it’s all God, man. That’s all I can say.”
After going undrafted, the Packers gave him a $7,000 signing bonus.
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Why he’s got a chance: Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine likes playing a safety as a linebacker. Griffin has oodles of experience doing the dirty work that Raven Greene and Ibraheim Campbell have handled for most of the past two seasons.
No. 81: RB Damarea Crockett (5-11, 2224, first year, Missouri)
In three seasons at Missouri, Crockett rushed for 2,252 yards and 19 touchdowns, including a school freshman-record 1,062 yards in 2016 and 709 yards as a junior in 2018. He went undrafted in 2019, signed with Houston but was released at the end of training camp. He started the regular season on the Raiders’ practice squad before joining Green Bay’s practice squad in October. He finished the season with the team and re-signed after the season.
He was a star at Little Rock (Ark.) Christian but was not offered a scholarship by then-coach Bret Bielema. “It's not extreme-extra motivation, but it's definitely extra motivation just because I'm from that state," he told ArkansasOnline.com. "When you feel like you're a good player in your state, you feel just a little disrespected when you don't get an offer from your home-state school.”
He’s especially close to his mom, Vanessa Keener. A single mom and only child, they were all they had. “I feel like it was rougher for her, being a single parent,” Crockett told ColumbiaMissourian.com during his record-breaking freshman year. “I feel like that forced me to have to mature quicker because my mom was working. It was tough some days, but I didn’t really look at it as tough because that’s all I knew.”
Why he’s got a chance: With Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams entering their free-agent seasons, there could be a long-term hole that the team might want to preemptively stock. Second-round pick AJ Dillon, obviously, is part of that solution. He’s got a nice blend of size and athleticism (4.50 in the 40), and it certainly doesn’t hurt that he spent the last four months of the season with the team.
No. 80: DT Willington Previlon (6-5, 287, rookie, Rutgers)
As a senior, Previlon won team MVP honors and was an honorable mention on the all-Big Ten team after posting a team-high 7.5 tackles for losses. In four seasons, he recorded four sacks and 12.5 tackles for losses. Half of those sacks came in 2018. A three-star recruit, he redshirted in 2015 and didn’t see any action in 2016 but played in all 36 games the final three seasons.
Off the field, he can play the trombone and piano. “I've always been into musical instruments," Previlon told the school Web site. “My first instrument was the guitar, then I played the trombone, then the baritone. Now I'm on the piano. I've been playing for five years now. When I feel like I want to be a little to myself, I play the piano and focus on that.”
Why he’s got a chance: An athletic big man, Previlon was the only rookie addition to the team’s rather lackluster defensive line.